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If you’ve ever wondered how in Star Trek humans managed to turn grid-lined rooms into striking replicas of Irish villages and Wild West facades replete with swaying trees and creaky leather saddles, well, don’t think too hard about it. These far-fetched (if diverting) starship chambers used fanciful teleporter tech to beam custom-tailored matter in on the fly and employed forcefields to give photon-sculpted objects illusory substance…pretty much impossible when you hold that formula up against actual physics.

Still, the idea behind holography-based virtual reality remains enticing — even without the teleportation and instantaneous matter replication fantasy, a giant wraparound room stacked with 3D panels would be significantly awesome in its own right, no?

Sort of like CAVE2, then — the “AVE” stands for “automatic virtual environment” — a “hybrid reality” system designed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory (EVL) at the University of Illinois at Chicago that spreads a bunch of stereoscopic 3D…

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